A Batman One-shot by Andrew J. Talon
Disclaimer: No I don't own Batman, and no I'm not writing this for money. But of course, in the very unlikely event that someone from DC spots this and offers me a job, I'm certainly not going to say no.
"Come on! I've been pulling double duty because Tim's got his manties in a twist. I am overworked!" Stephanie loudly protested in the Bat Cave later that evening. Like Dick and Damian, she was in full costume. "Can't you pull in someone else to cover my shift?"
"Stephanie, you know that without Cass we've all been having to pull extra hours," Dick calmly reminded her. Stephanie nodded.
"I know, and I've been willing to do that! But I do have my limits. Couldn't we pull in Supergirl for one night to cover?"
Dick slowly shook his head. "Sorry Steph, we can't. We need you..." He glanced over at Damian and back at Steph. "However, you don't have to go it alone."
"Oh?" Stephanie asked, raising an eyebrow.
Damian continued his preparation, tightening his belt and ensuring his sword was attached. He had already done all of that, of course, but he could double or triple his checks as needed.
"Damian will be with you. I will be taking the East end of the city, you guys focus on your standard patrol route," Dick said. "I think it should make things a little easier, crime seems to be at a relatively low level on our patrol route."
"All right," Stephanie agreed after a moment's thought. She looked over at Damian. "All right kiddo, ready to do this?"
"Yes," Damian said. He rummaged through his utility belt, as though looking for something he had misplaced. This of course was impossible, he had memorized where everything was long ago, but according to Grayson it helped to show a bit of theatrics when presenting a gift. He pulled out the gift and handed it to Stephanie. Stephanie blinked at the box.
"What is this?"
"Open it," Damien ordered. Stephanie did so, and pulled out a well crafted knife. She raised an eyebrow.
"I believe you need a knife. Better to have a spare blade rather than have to rely entirely on batarangs," Damian said in a very business-like tone. Stephanie examined it, including the purple handle with an ergonomic grip. She smiled.
"Er... Thanks," she said. Damien nodded and turned to head to the Batmobile.
"Shall we?" He asked.
"Right..." She looked questioningly over at Dick, who just shrugged. Damian jumped into the driver's seat and started it up. Stephanie slid into the side seat and strapped in. The cockpit closed up and the Batmobile started on it's way towards the exit.
The two sat in silence, Stephanie turning the knife around in her hands.
"Would you like to listen to music?" Damian asked. Stephanie blinked and looked over at Damian.
Damian switched the radio on to something by Mozart. He continued driving, eyes firmly ahead on the road. Stephanie continued staring, looking back at him and at the road ahead. Frankly, she had the feeling something was up.
"There a problem?" Stephanie asked.
"No. No problem," Damian said quickly, "why would there be a problem? There isn't a problem."
"Okay, now I knowsomething is up," Stephanie said flatly. "Look, if it's about me teasing you before, I am sorry if it upset you."
Damian's cheeks turned bright red. "No. It did not upset me. Tell me about your childhood."
At the abrupt subject gear shift, Stephanie gawked.
"Tell me about your childhood. Interests. Hobbies..." Damian considered it for a while. "Astological sign if you subscribe to beliefs in that."
Stephanie had the sudden mental image of Damian in John Travolta style, sliding across the dance floor with a smile. She felt a laugh bubble out of her mouth, and didn't try to stop it.
"What? What's so funny?" Damian demanded.
"You asked me what my signis," Stephanie laughed. "Sorry, sorry, that's just kind of funny..."
"You didn't answer my question," Damian said.
"Why do you want to know?" Stephane asked. Damian growled.
"You can't answer a question with another question!"
"Seems like I just did."
Damian stewed for a moment, before deciding to adjust his plans.
"Very well. I am interested in you."
"What?" Stephanie asked.
"Interested in you. In your backstory, your history, your relationships," Damian said in as business-like a manner as he could manage. Stephanie snickered a bit, then looked out at the windshield as they headed closer to Gotham.
"Well... I grew up with my mother in the suburbs. My father was the Cluemaster, a pretty terrible villain all things considered who was in jail most of my life."
"Uh huh," Damian said, nodding.
"When he came back after being 'rehabilitated', I found out he was returning to crime. I got pretty upset about that."
"Uh huh," Damian said, with precisely the same modulation as before.
Stephanie took a deep breath. "So I decided to try and thwart him by dressing up in a costume of my own."
"Then I gained superpowers by being bitten by a radioactive eggplant monster and devoted myself to fighting crime," Stephanie added with a straight face.
Damian blinked. "That didn't hap..." He scowled as Stephanie chuckled.
"Just making sure you were paying attention."
"You grew up with your mother as your father was often in jail, when he returned after being in prison he went back to crime, you dressed up to stop him, you had no original intention of becoming a superhero but did so after meeting Drake and my father," Damian summarized. Stephanie blinked.
"Yeah, that's right."
"I have memorized your biographical information, it's all in the Batcomputer," Damian smoothly said.
"Well, that's... Flattering, in a creepy supergenius child sort of way," Stephanie said dryly. "So if you've memorized it-"
"I want to hear it from you," Damian said. Stephanie blinked several times in rapid succession, before shaking her head. She mentally shrugged.
"All right... I guess you could say my first adventure was when..."
Thoughout the patrol, Damian and Stephanie would get out of the car, deal with some trouble, and return to it. Each time, Stephanie would relate a bit more of her backstory, and Damian would continue to nod like a bobble head doll. Frankly she was becoming a bit weirded out, but at the same time she kind of enjoyed just being able to talk about all this.
"... So then I died... Well, not really. You know, that Doctor always kind of creeped me out. Never could put my finger on exactly why that was."
"Yes, it seemed like an extremely out of character thing for her to do," Damian concurred. "It was the prelude to an enormous amount of upheaval all across the superhero community. It is still difficult to determine the specific cause. My father suspected something much bigger at work."
"What, like some vast intergalactic conspiracy?" Stephanie joked. Damian nodded.
"Ah... Right. Forgot who I was talking about," Stephanie said with a sigh. "You know, despite everything I do miss him. I think he was right to fire me after everything I did."
"He was," Damian said. He looked over at Stephanie. "However, your performance since then has been... Adequate."
"Well... Thanks for your ringing endorsement," Stephanie said with a smile. Damian nodded as they turned a corner. Stephanie felt her stomach rumble and she grimaced.
"Urgh... Dinner time already?"
"I have taken care of it," Damian said. He switched the Batmobile into autopilot mode and hit another button. Two tray tables emerged with food in containers. "I had Alfred make these for us."
"Oh yes!" Stephanie grinned as she opened her food up. She began eating it eagerly. Damian ate his food as well. Soon both their meals were finished, and the trays slipped back into the car's walls.
"I take it Alfred had some input on the design of this Batmobile?" Stephanie asked, wiping her mouth with a napkin. Damian nodded.
"Well that's wonderful," Stephanie sighed. She poked her hip. "Though too much of this and I might not fit into my costume."
"That wouldn't be a bad thing," Damian said. Stephanie blinked.
"Oh yeah?" Stephanie asked. Damian coughed and looked out the window.
"Aw, Damian's finally discovering his hormones," Stephanie cooed. She reached out and pulled him into a hug and noogied him.
"Hey! Ack! Get off!" Damian gasped. Stephanie snickered.
"Isn't that just so cute!" She finally let go of him, laughing a bit at his red cheeks. Damian, however, rather than fighting back, turned to look at her.
"Cute enough to go out with?"
"Out... To a movie... Dinner... Like this, but not on patrol," Damian explained, trying to sound gruff but coming off as nervous all the same. Stephanie shook her head and chuckled.
"Are you asking me out on a date?"
"Yes," Damian said.
"Well... That's really cute, but maybe another time," Stephanie said with a gentle smile. Damian scowled.
Stephanie rubbed the top of his head with another soft laugh. "I don't know, maybe in a few years?"
"... Oh," Damian said flatly. Stephanie shrugged.
"... Right," Damian said.
The rest of the patrol was conducted with just the slightest bit of awkwardness between them, but nothing serious came up and soon enough they were pulling back into the Batcave.
Damian hopped out, as did Stephanie. Stephanie gave him a little wave as she headed to the costume vault to change, leaving Damian standing there alone.
"Everything all right, Master Damian?" Alfred asked.
"Fine," Damian grunted. Alfred shook his head and rested a hand on his shoulder.
"Every young boy must have a bit of heartbreak now and then. It is the nature of life, I'm afraid," the butler consoled. Damian's eyes narrowed.
"In the gymnasium," Alfred said. Damian nodded and ran off, leaving the butler behind to shake his head with a chuckle.
"Of course... To some, it's just a challenge," he murmured to himself.
Dick was unwinding after his patrol with a series of acrobatics, an old routine he'd practiced since his first days at the circus. It wasn't hard for him to interrupt it though as he saw Damian enter the gymnasium part of the cave gloomier than usual.
"I take it, it didn't go well?" Dick asked as he landed on a mat nearby. Damian snorted, drew his sword, and began running through some katas.
"She said she might date me in a few years," Damian huffed. Dick nodded.
"Ouch. Yeah, that's what Barb told me too, first time I asked her out," he said.
"So now what do I do?" Damian asked.
"Well, it's not the end of the world," Dick said. Damian shook his head.
"No, but I did something wrong. I wish to try again."
"Careful Damian, women don't like men who are pushy," Dick advised. Damian shook his head.
"If my age was eliminated as a factor, she would date me. Therefore, I need to attempt something to offset this imbalance. It is simple logic. So, what should I do now?"
Dick sighed. Well... It's not like he'll turn into some crazed fanboy... He smirked. And it might be fun in the long run as long as it doesn't get too out of hand...
"Well... If my advice is insufficient, you could always ask someone else," Dick suggested.
"Oh? And who can I ask?"
"Well, you could give Jason a call," Dick suggested with a small smile. "He did go on a date with Barb once himself."
Damian hummed. He then shrugged.
"I shall inquire of him then, Grayson. Good night," Damian said. He headed off, leaving Dick shaking his head.
"If nothing else... I get to make Jason miserable for a while." He chuckled and headed back to the bars to resume his routine, never suspecting just what kind of chaos he might have unleashed.
If he had known... Well, he would have probably done it anyway.
At the request of the wonderfully talented gabzillaz, I have decided to write more of this story up. Sorry this part is a bit slow, it's more of a set up chapter.